Tag Archives: Max Wide

BOARD NEWS

A home. How many will we get for £160million?

Bristol City Council has very, very quietly released limited membership details of its BRISTOL HOMES BOARD, tasked with spending a headline figure of £160m of our money to resolve the city’s housing crisis.

Naturally the equaliser, the Reverend Rees, has opted for a 75 per cent male, all-white board (except himself) stuffed with incompetent TIME-SERVERS and serial QUANGOCRATS to spend this large wedge of public money.

Alongside the Reverend and his sidekick, Labour housing boss, Paul “Wolfie” Smith, you’ll find Alison “THREE JOBS” Comley, a senior city council boss and direct subordinate of Rees and Smith, hardly best placed to speak truth to power. Especially as she’s up to her neck in the council’s £30m unlawful budget scandal and is yet to be cleared.

Alison is joined by luminaries such as Stephen “What Crisis?”Teagle from Galliford Try Partnerships, a front for the corporate that runs house builders, LINDEN HOMES. Last year, Linden saw profits rise 21 per cent to £74.3m while its average house cost a mere £338,000. The company also boasts to shareholders that it has a LANDBANK of 14,250 plots. Doesn’t sound much like a crisis for them does it?

Also on the board is Knightstone Housing Association boss Nick Horne “Blower”. He was last seen sat on his useless lazy arse as a board member for West of England LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP (LEP) while, directly under his nose, BAE sold their Filton Airfield land to YTL Homes UK. YTL is run by Colin “Tory Boy” Skellett who also happened to be the Chair of er, the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership! This blatant CONFLICT OF INTEREST clearly passed Nick by, even though the LEP was given a key role in marketing and developing the airfield for sale with the public money he was overseeing!

Nick also waved through TWO PAYMENTS from the LEP to board member George Ferguson’s Beer Factory and Bristol Brewing Company totalling £62k. A further £92k was paid to a company owned by one of Ferguson’s political donors, Alasdair “Sorearse” Sawday. What were these handouts for? Who knows? Because NO MINUTES exist of these board decisions and no documents indicating Ferguson’s interests were ever published by Horne’s LEP!

Also getting rewarded for serial incompetence and moving across from the useless board of the LEP to oversee millions of pounds of our money for housing in Bristol is Business West bigwig James “Licker” Durie.  Not only is he unlikely to raise any difficult questions about any handouts to wealthy locals, he’s also a notorious salaried lackey for the MERCHANT VENTURERS.

Making up the numbers on the Rev’s quietly appointed board are a couple of posh public schoolboys turned voluntary sector luvvies – David “HAPPY CAMPER” Ingerslev from multi-million homeless charity St Mungos and the CEO of Elim Housing Association, Alistair “HEAD BOY” Allender. No doubt Head Boy can bring his street-level experience from Birkenhead School, “a top performing independent day school for boys and girls aged 3 months to 18” and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where he studied Natural Sciences to bear?

Further INEFFECTUAL luvvie input on our Homes Board will be supplied by Bevis Watts “The Fuck”, Managing Director of Triodos Bank. He’s a serial quangocrat who boasts the pie, booze and cash giveaway to the wealthy that was the board of the Green Capital, Bristol 2015 Ltd, on his CV!

Adding a healthy dose of surrealism to the whole affair, the board also has a ‘Head of Multi-Channel Fulfilment’ at the table – Debbie “Fulfil Me” Franklin from the Andrews Property Group, a local LETTINGS AGENCY, no less. Career bureaucrat David “The Loaf” Warburton from the Homes and Community Agency quango is also along for the £160m public money ride

The small amount of hope we can invest in this board lies with the final two members. Geraldine Winkler, a housing solicitor with the Avon & Bristol Law Centre and Tom Renhard, a member of tenants union ACORN. He also sits on the board of the Avon Pension Fund for some random reason and we note with concern that Renhard was funded by local authority bosses’ union UNISON to help him get on to this pension board. It’s unclear, too, whether Renhard was a personal appointment by the Vicar or whether he was chosen directly by Acorn members.

As always, it’s just as interesting to note who ISN’T on the committee – seasoned troublemakers or gobshites known to be prepared to stand up to a committee of pie-munching land dealing wankers who forget to keep minutes. And It’s further worth noting that there was no sign of a competitive application process to join this board disbursing £160m of our cash. Instead membership is entirely courtesy of the political PATRONAGE of the Reverend Mayor Rees well away from any scrutiny by councillors and public.

The last “PUBLIC MEETING” of this board took place on 29 June. Despite being “public”, no reports were issued and the board was, instead, treated to a series of Max Wide “Boy” style verbal briefings and crappy Powerpoint presentations that will never be seen again. Already, we have to ask, are these board members doing their jobs properly?

There may be trouble ahead …

AUDIT UPDATE: BUNDRED EXPOSES BENT CHIEF AUDITORS

We don’t like to say that we told you so, but … We told you so! That staggering pair of arseholes, Alison “Mullet” Mullis and Melanie “Joe” Henchy-McCarthy, Bristol City Council’s Chief Internal Auditors – who are supposed to protect our money at the council – have been EXPOSED as BENT and USELESS by the council’s ‘Bundred Report’ into its dodgy finance reporting.

According to independent investigator Steve “Sticky” Bundred, the pair of idiot auditors gave the basketcase ‘Single Change Programme’ – that was supposed to deliver £64 million worth of corporate savings to the council by March 2017 and didn’t  – a clean bill of health and a ‘GOOD‘ rating in July 2015. Although it was plainly apparent, even then, to anyone allowed to look that it wasn’t delivering the savings that it should.

While the two auditors researched their report in the summer of 2015, Sticky Bundred tells us that the man in charge of the savings, strategic director Max Wide “Boy”, had “developed SERIOUS DOUBTS about the achievability of the planned savings …   as [his] Directorate was clearly failing to deliver savings expected from investment in commercial property.”

Bundred also says, “These CONCERNS were apparently expressed by [Wide Boy] to the then City Director [Nicola “Lady Gaga” Yates] in a one to one meeting on 13 July 2015 and again in a presentation to an SLT (senior leadership team) awayday.”

Bundred further notes, “on 11 June 2015 the Service Director, HR [Richard Billingham] and the Service Director, Business Change and ICT  [Paul “Arrogant” Arrigoni] met with the then City Director [Gaga] and the Strategic Director, Business Change [Wide Boy] to express concerns that benefits from the Change Programme were “DRIFTING“.”

So how did these two audit experts and super-sleuths employed by us to protect our money miss these OBVIOUS signs of a big problem in a programme they were investigating and manage to rate it as ‘GOOD‘ to councillors on the Audit Committee instead? Who knows? Because the Reverend Rees, so far, can’t be arsed to find out and neither can his Audit Committee.

Our intrepid auditors then went on to do a further investigation, specifically into the financial benefits of the ‘Single Change Programme’ in August 2015. Their draft report was issued to Wide Boy and his Single Change managers in November 2015. This draft report correctly identified cost reductions through a high-profile redundancy scheme in 2014 had NOT BEEN ACHIEVED.

Sticky Bundred explains, “Auditors believed posts were being deleted that had been vacant for a long time so there was NO ACTUAL SAVING and when actual people were released they were often replaced by interims/contractors or casual staff. In consequence, the draft [auditors] report identified RED RISKS in several areas.”

However, by November 2015, says Sticky, the Chief Internal Auditors had allowed the bosses in charge of the underachieving ‘Single Change Programme’ [Wide Boy, Arrogant and the Change Services Manager] to REWRITE their report for them!

The honest pair of auditors then proceeded to tell councillors on the Audit Committee in January 2016 via a ‘summary’ of their full report  that the Single Change Programme was operating at an ‘ACCEPTABLE‘ level without a ‘Red Risk’ in sight! When in fact it was FAILING to the tune of £29 million as all the bosses and both Chief Internal Auditors knew perfectly well.

This is straightforward LYING to our elected representatives. Why the fuck are this pair of bent audit bosses still in post and not at the Job Centre or, even, in a police cell?

FROM AGILE TO FRAGILE: HOW SENIOR COUNCIL BOSSES HAVE SCREWED THEIR STAFF #1

ON THE DAY IT’S FINALLY REVEALED THAT BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL’S FORMER CHIEF EXEC, NICOLA “LADY GAGA” YATES LEFT LAST MONTH WITH A £196K PAY OFF FROM THE THE REVEREND MARVIN REES, WE START TO REVEAL THE APPALLING FINANCIAL BASKETCASE GAGA AND HER SENIOR BOSSES HAVE TURNED OUR COUNCIL INTO … AND WHO’S GONNA PAY FOR IT

How has Bristol City Council property boss Robert “Spunkface” Orrett already managed to run up a LOSS of £9m in his department this year? Surely there’s some mistake? Wasn’t Spunkface brought in from the super efficient, cash generating private sector to prevent just this kind of public sector waste and profligacy?

Spunkface

Spunkface: business pro who can’t identify a £9m loss?

A brief read of the Reverend Rees’s emergency finance report – expensively prepared by his highly-paid private sector finance consultant Anna “BIG WEDGE” Klonowski, managing director of Elka Solutions Ltd management consultancy – reveals that Spunkface has managed to turn a profit projected to be £7.5m in March’s budget into a LOSS of £1.5m five months later!

Most of the excuses concocted for this financial shambles float in a special space between useless and the absurd. According to Ms Big Wedge, Spunkface has flopped because he’s FAILED to increase return on investment property holdings; he’s FAILED to reduce running costs from the disposal of admin buildings and he’s FAILED to reduce facilities management costs as promised.

Since the rental income from INVESTMENT PROPERTIES was £10m in 2015 – 16 – slightly up from £9.5m in 2014 -15. It’s is hard to see how Spunkface or the council thought they could increase this income by £7.5m this year … So it’s nothing to do with that then.

Similarly, FACILITIES MANAGEMENT costs are just £4.3m a year so there’s no £7.5m savings to be made there … So it’s nothing to do with that then.

This just leaves the running costs saved from the disposal of admin buildings. A major part of recently departed strategic director Max Wide “Boy’s” SINGLE CHANGE PROGRAMME that was going to deliver £60m of carefully designed strategic cuts by March 2017.

MAX WIDE ‘BOY’ - There'll be hell toupee with him in charge...

MAX WIDE ‘BOY’: has packed up his Powerpoint slides and fled

The jewel in the crown of these proposals was the ‘WORKPLACE PROGRAMME‘. The plan being that council would create “new agile working environments” for all council staff in just TWO BUILDINGS – an expensively refurbished Counts Louse and the newly purchased £15m Temple Street base. Apparently this could save the council a fortune in office rentals and leases and by having less buildings to maintain and administrate.

The new ‘agile work environments’ are already universally loathed by staff as corporate, sterile and IMPRACTICAL. Relying on expensive half-baked tech solutions and fashionable nonsense in an attempt to appear modern, the offices have only found favour with sad and lonely senior local authority bosses who appear to gain a sense of importance wafting around the ‘flexible space’ with their iPads.

Alas, Wide Boy’s Single Change Programme and on-trend ‘agile environment’ plans may not have panned out quite as he had planned. Before legging it in June he alleged via one of his many vague (but extremely agile with the truth) Powerpoint presentations to GULLIBLE COUNCILLORS that he had managed to deliver just £30m of his promised ‘savings’ up to April. Meaning a further £30m savings had to be found this year.

But now we find that a £9m shaped HOLE has appeared in Property Services exactly where Wide Boy’s agile ‘Workplace Programme’ savings should be. That means that Wide Boy’s overall savings are actually £21m not £30m. A cock-up that 1,000 low paid council staff will now have to pay for with their jobs. Less ‘agile working’ and more ‘fragile working’!

Marvin: talked shit and lost to a red trousered arse

Reverend Rees: employed a new gang of twats on big money?

So why don’t council bosses openly tell us about this financial savings BELLYFLOP and their wholly misconceived corporate ‘agile’ cock up? Indeed, why hasn’t Spunkface – as a responsible public servant – prepared a proper detailed report on the finances in his Property Department for the mayor and councillors? As opposed to keeping his head down and trying to bury this enormous senior management CLUSTERFUCK in an opaque set of accounts?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that Marvin’s newly installed team of highly paid bosses – some pulling in a GRAND A DAY on temporary contracts; others tax efficiently creaming £80k A QUARTER – are just about to embark on yet another top-down reorganisation?

They’re promising, with lashings of corporate jargon, natch, lots more huge savings. So maybe they don’t want anyone noticing that the last reorganisation was a load of OVERPRICED BULLSHIT run by a bunch of highly paid INCOMPETENTS and cover-up artists?

Are The Reverend’s newly assembled little gang of greedy bosses and management consultants preparing to deliver their own under-powered reorganisation using the same old over-powered corporate PR techniques safe in the knowledge they, too, can do A RUNNER before the shit hits the fan?

And Look! Top of the new bosses’ list – promising to deliver £16m of savings by March 2017 – is Wide Boy’s utterly failed and useless SINGLE CHANGE PROGRAMME!

That’s gonna work like a dream isn’t it?

RAT AND SHIP UPDATE

MAX WIDE ‘BOY’ - There'll be hell toupee with him in charge...

MAX WIDE ‘BOY’ – Hell toupee when we see what he’s done …

So it’s farewell, then, to Max Wide “Boy”, the city council’s Business Change boss who leaves the organisation at the end of May after two years of hard graft SACKING PEOPLE in return for over £250k! What a deal that’s been for the city.

Former BT salesman, Wide Boy, arrived at the council just two years ago on a £130k a year wedge after a stint controversially PRIVATISING SERVICES in Barnet. His remit in Bristol was to deliver £64m of cuts by 2017.

His final report to the city’s cabinet suggests he’s actually delivered about £33m of these cuts by FIRING around 500 council staff and a further £18m may get delivered if his ‘EFFICIENCY SAVINGS’ pan out as planned. Meanwhile the £12.9m in cuts still outstanding will need to be found by a further 450 REDUNDANCIES according to the cabinet report Wide Boy published shortly before scarpering.

So well done Mayor Fucking Useless and Bristol City Council. You’ve paid someone a quarter of million pounds to sack a 1,000 people and run away before the disastrous results of this policy become clear.

CITY COUNCIL SALARY WATCH

Greedy pig: Nicola ‘Lady Gaga’ Yates

Anyone got any idea how much city council Chief Exec Nicola “LADY GAGA” Yates really earns?

The council’s annual report, which contains audited accounting information, insists she earned £180,617 in 2014 -15. However, the ‘Table of Salaries for City Director and Chief Officer Posts as at 1 April 2015’ published with great fanfare and openness on the council website insists she trousers a mere £160k.

Why the difference? And are either of these figures accurate? Because Nicola actually has FOUR jobs courtesy of Bristol City Council. As well as Chief Exec, she’s the ELECTORAL RETURNING OFFICER for the city; Chief Exec of the disastrous GREEN CAPITAL private limited company and she’s now nabbed a directorship of the brand new ‘BRISTOL WASTE‘ private limited company!

In the case of the last two, Gaga has openly used her influence to ensure the accounts of these publicly owned companies are TOP SECRET and not even subject to the attention of the council’s auditors. This means we have absolutely NO MEANS OF KNOWING if Gaga’s trousering any more of our cash on the sly through these companies.

Ain’t secrecy grand?

Elsewhere, the ‘Table of Salaries for City Director and Chief Officer Posts as at 1 April 2015’ for public consumption lists the salaries of Lady Gaga’s four STRATEGIC DIRECTORS as between £130 – 135k pa each.

Which is odd because the audited annual report says Business Change director MAX WIDE “BOY” earned over £141k in 2014 – 2015. Meanwhile Mayor Pillock’s thicko urbanist mate BARRA MAC “NUGGET” RUAIRI reels in a cool £139,350 pa for wandering aimlessly around ABU GHRAIB – Lady Gaga’s ‘agile’ Temple Street office complex – in brown cords.

Can these two senior bosses not add up? Or have they been treated to a secret pay rise?

MANAGEMENT NEWS UPDATE

ALAS, after just 18 months of ineffectual bureaucratic middle management in the dull style, it’s time to bid farewell to the city council’s apprentice of the dark arts, babyfaced chief lawyer, LIAM “MALFOY” NEVIN.

This is a very quick exit indeed for the Warwickshire country boy as he becomes the first of Chief Exec LADY GAGA’S expensively assembled senior management team, just launched in the new year, to head for the door.

But why? Did Malfoy JUMP or was he PUSHED? Well, while it’s virtually impossible for a chief legal officer to be fired, rumours persist that Lady Gaga’s dark lord – ‘He Who Will Not Put Anything In Writing’ – private sector-friendly Business Change director MAX WIDE “BOY” was less than impressed with Malfoy’s style in general and his outmoded insistence on adhering to the law in particular.

Clearly such a dated attitude to government isn’t suited to ‘Uncle’ George’s ‘whacky’ buccaneering style of politics where nothing can stand in the way of getting jugglers on street corners to replace traditional public services.

Meanwhile we’re starting to get an insight into WIDEBOY. Trousering a healthy six-figure bung every year to take responsibility for ‘business change’, ‘efficiency’ and other euphemisms for the destruction of public services, Wideboy – a former outsourcing salesman for BT – isn’t one for explaining to the electorate exactly how he’s slicing £80m out of the council’s budget.

At a recent meeting – conveniently arranged in the MIDDLE OF AUGUST – of the new Business Change and Resources Scrutiny Commission of councillors, Wideboy had to deliver THREE reports to councillors detailing his various cuts packages.

However, no written reports were forthcoming from Wideboy. Instead councillors were treated to VERBAL PRESENTATIONS, allowing Wideboy to dodge any accountability whatsoever for what he’s up to.

This characteristic brew of arrogance, idleness and mendacity from a senior boss, being paid a fortune, didn’t seem to trouble our gormless councillors, however, who all seemed happy enough with the dodgy arrangement.

KNOW YOUR ENEMY #1: MAX WIDE ‘BOY’ – BRISTOL’S NEW ‘STRATEGIC DIRECTOR FOR BUSINESS CHANGE’

MAX WIDE ‘BOY’ - There'll be hell toupee with him in charge...

MAX WIDE ‘BOY’: Hell toupee with him in charge…

A visit to Bristol from Julian Silverman of the Barnet Alliance For Public Services has shone some light on Mayor Fergo’s recent appointment of MAX WIDE ‘BOY’ as his ‘Strategic Director for Business Change’.

Julian is an anti-cuts campaigner who has been fighting wholesale privatisation at the so-called ‘Easy Council’ which runs the London Borough of Barnet. Its mass privatisation of local services, named after budget airline EasyJet, was personally organised by Wide Boy when he was Barnet’s Director of Planning whilst on secondment from BT. It was always unclear whether Wide Boy was actually working for BT or the council.

Wide Boy quickly became notorious in Barnet for coining odd and sinister catchphrases such as “LEARN TO LOVE A RECESSION” and “NEVER WASTE A GOOD CRISIS” – and Julian explained how Wide Boy’s weirdo statements seem to have come straight out of the pages of a Naomi Klein book, The Shock Doctrine.

The book describes an extreme free market economic dogma that creates or manipulates economic crises to justify the mass transfer of public wealth and resources into the hands of the private sector. Usually at knockdown prices and always involving the transfer of wealth from us –  the poor –  to them – the rich.

Wideboy will be commuting to Bristol daily from LEAFY FROME, where he campaigns in his spare time to get supermarkets built, and it is obvious he is being brought in to deliver Mayor Redpants’  mass privatisation agenda for our public services.

Watch this space…